Which should come first in your hub: your text and then the photo representing the text, or the photo and then the text?
I put the photo first but there is no rule. As long as the picture is visible above the fold when an article first appears, I guess a short amount of text before the picture is OK.
Pictures speak louder than words, so it is , in my opinion, a good idea to show the first picture at first glance.
The latest view of internet gurus is that a "hero shot" (a big picture at the top of your article) is the best way to catch a reader's attention.
HOWEVER I am seeing far too many people take that advice and use it improperly.
The idea of the "hero shot" comes from marketing a product or service. The most effective way to sell the product is to show people a picture of it looking absolutely fabulous. The best way to sell a service is to show people a picture of people enjoying the service. So it's pretty easy to know what picture to use. But on an informational article, it takes thought to find the right picture - choose the wrong one and you're sunk.
When people arrive at a Hub, they're usually been searching for the answer to a question or how to solve a problem. You've got a few seconds to convince that visitor you've got the answer. If you use a picture that sends that message, that's great. If it doesn't, the visitor will just click the "back" button and try another link.
The example I usually give is someone Googling to find information on fishing brown trout.
If he arrives at a Hub and it has a "hero shot" of the author in his boat holding a beautiful brown trout that he's just caught, the visitor will think, "this guy really knows how to fish, I'll scroll down and read his advice".
But if he arrives at the Hub and the "hero shot" is a cute shot of the author and his kids having fun fishing, he'll think, "this guy is just an amateur like me" and will click back to find something better.
Bottom line, if you can't find a photo that's going to grab your reader and keep them on the page, you're better off starting with some text that will grab the reader and keep them on the page.
Good point Marisa: The trick is to catch readers' attention and keep them on the page.
I sometimes use a meme or info graphic (a photo with a few words on it) as the first thing people see. This method has 2 advantages:
1. You can write a few words on the picture that complement the title, so the title can remain fairly short.
2. Such a picture is handy to share on social media like Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus and Flipboard.
Sue and Marisa have given excellent advice. I always put a photo first. Unless it's my own, it takes a very long time to find the right photo. It can take longer than writing the article! I obsess about finding the most appropriate and eye-catching image for the reasons Marisa stated.
The important point is that it's not enough for it be eye-catching: it must give the reader confidence that you can answer their question or solve their problem. That's not always easy to convey in a photo, which is why sometimes a sentence or two of text is needed. You have to consider each Hub on its own merits.
Janshares, Marisa Wright, and others: You have all been very helpful with your advice. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about what works for you!
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